Afraid of Fat - FamilyEducation

The "Fat-Phobic" Generation

Learn to control your fat intake without becoming fat-phobic.

Sure, a low-fat lifestyle is the way to go, but some misinterpret this message and become utterly neurotic. Are you afraid to even touch anything that might have once possibly come in contact with fat? When ordering in a restaurant, do you create such chaos that your waiter is off and running to his or her shrink?

It might sound funny, but it's no laughing matter to be completely preoccupied with fat. Certainly, a low-fat diet is an essential part of being healthy. However, taking this concept to radical extremes can place serious restraints on social eating, let alone set you up for a serious eating disorder. If your reason is weight control, think again. Some fat is helpful, and I promise you can maintain your ideal body weight (within reason, of course) and still allow yourself to enjoy foods with fat.

In fact, joining a “fat-free cult” doesn't necessarily mean that you automatically lose weight. Quite frequently, I meet clients who cannot seem to drop an aggravating 5 or 10 pounds—even while following a strictly fat-free regimen. How can that be?

The answer is rather obvious: they simply overcompensate with the fat-free products. For the most part, the explosion of lower-fat foods on the market has been a wonderful tool, enabling people to painlessly lower their cholesterol and total fat intakes. Unfortunately for some people, the expression “low-fat” means carte blanche to eating huge amounts. Just because a product is fat-free doesn't mean it's calorie-free. As a matter of fact, many lower-fat foods can pack in just as many calories as their original fat-containing counterparts (compensating by pumping in more carbs).

Do you have a friend who will not go near a “real” chocolate-chip cookie but doesn't hesitate to inhale half a box of the fat-free version? Which is worse: the cookie with fat at 75 calories or 10 no-fat cookies at a whopping 500 calories? Remember, no matter where they come from, calories still count in the battle of the bulge.